Sunday, December 22, 2013

Skinny Pumpkin Pie Muffins

It is the holidays and if you are anything like me and love to eat, you can put on a few pounds. Pumpkin is a favorite of the season especially pumpkin desserts. Unfortunately most pumpkin desserts will make you feel guilty later. I came across a weight watcher recipe that piqued my interest (especially considering it has only 3 ingredients). This recipe is delicious but I wanted to build from that and make it my own and still be guilt free. Each muffin with a dollop of cream cheese topping is only 127 calories (without cream cheese topping 97.6 calories)!! My husband calls these muffins his little pumpkin pies. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!!!





Skinny Pumpkin Pie Muffins

for the cake:
1 box spice cake mix
15 oz. pure pumpkin puree 
1/2 cup chunky apple sauce
1/2 cup water

for the cream cheese topping
4 oz. room temperature light cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tbs. heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla
optional: pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350.
Spray regular sized muffin tray with cooking spray (I use the one that has flour in it) or line each one with liners. 
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the cake mix, pumpkin, apple sauce and water until well blended.
Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 of the way making sure to wipe around the edges. 
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. 
While muffins bake take a medium sized mixing bowl and beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, cream, and vanilla until well blended and almost a pudding consistency. 
When muffins are cool  top with a dollop of the cream cheese topping.
Optional: sprinkle the top with pumpkin pie spice. 

Thanks!! 


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Kielbasa and Potato Bake

I am on a pretty tight budget so every week I sit down in front of my computer, pull up all of the local grocery stores web sites and look over their ads for the week. I then create a menu and food budget based on the sales ad. I noticed that one of the stores had a name brand family pack (42 oz.) of kielbasa or smoked sausage for 5.99. As much as I love kielbasa or smoked sausage, I never really get creative with it. Typically we will use it for jambalaya for a quick dinner but I was wanting more of a hearty comfort food with potatoes. I looked around online thinking that I would find something that looked exactly what I was looking for, however I could not. I figured at this price why not just throw together what I think would be good and pray that it is yummy! Well it is yummy!!! This recipe is very easy to throw together. It is extremely versatile. I think next time I make it I will add some mushrooms, some fresh garlic and some fresh green beans!! Enjoy!! This recipe was made for a large family so you can easily cut it down if you need to, however the leftovers are AMAZING!!!




Kielbasa and Potato Bake

1 42 oz. pkg. kielbasa, cut into large pieces 
1 large onion, cut into large pieces
1 large bell pepper, cut into bite sized pieces (I used yellow)
8-10 large red potatoes (about 3 pounds), cut into bite sized pieces (I like to leave the skin on)
1 stick of butter, melted (you can use 1/2 cup oil if you prefer)
2 tbs. garlic powder
2 tsp. black pepper
1 tbs. paprika
3 tbs. sea salt

Preheat oven to 400.
Place potatoes, onion, bell pepper, garlic powder, black pepper, paprika, and salt into a roasting pan. 
Pour melted butter on top and stir well making sure that the spices are sticking to the veggies.
Bake for 20 minutes. 
Take out of the oven, stir well, top with the kielbasa and put it back into the oven for 20 minutes.
Take out of the oven, stir the veggies and the kielbasa well, put back into the oven for 20 more minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and serve!!!

Thanks!!!



 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Ultimate Chicken and Rice

A few months ago a friend of mine from high school Cici posted a picture of a dish she had created and it looked super yummy!! Of course I asked immediately what the recipe was but like most people who are creative in the kitchen, she knew all of the ingredients that she had used but didn't know the measurements. Challenge accepted!!! I had the recipe down the first time I made it!! My family loves this recipe. It is warm and comforting. My daughter said it was the ultimate comfort food!!! The best part is that not only is it super easy to make but it is budget friendly!! We always make a bunch because the leftovers are my favorite part!! I hope that you enjoy it as much as we do! Thanks again Cici!!! By the way the picture does not do this dish justice!!




Ultimate Chicken and Rice

4 lb. chicken (I have used leg quarters as well as thighs, you wanna use dark meat)
1 chopped onion
4-6 stalks celery chopped
2 bell peppers chopped 
sea salt (I put 3 tbs)
1 tbs pepper
2 tbs lemon pepper
3 tbs garlic powder
2 tbs adobo seasoning
2 packs 10 oz. yellow rice (we use mahatma. if you can not find the 10 oz just use 4 of the small 5 oz packs)
optional* 1 stick butter (I know it seems like a lot but this is a lot of rice!!)


In a large stock pot (I use 2 dutch ovens) place your veggies, chicken and half of each spice.

Fill the pot with water enough to cover everything (appx 9 cups).
Boil until chicken is just about to fall off of the bone and the veggies are starting to get tender.
If you have to add more water half way through please do so.
Preheat oven to 450.
Remove the chicken from the pot and de bone, throwing away the bones and skin.
Pour uncooked yellow rice in a roasting pan along with the chicken, veggies, the remaining spices and 8 cups of the broth from your pot

Stir well and bake uncovered for 45 mins to an hour stirring every 15 mins until the rice is tender and broth is absorbed.
Serve and cuddle up with a bowl of this ultimate comfort food, your favorite people and an awesome show like my daughter and I did!!




Thanks!!!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Marinated Pork Fried Rice

Asian food is one of my favorites. Tons of flavor with crisp veggies...soooo yummy!!! Fried rice is one of my favorite dishes. Not exactly the healthiest but so versatile and so yummy. I have been making this dish for many years. I have made it so many different ways using different veggies and different proteins. The possibilities are endless. This is one of our favorite ways of making it. You marinate the meat 24-48 hours ahead of time and it gives such an awesome flavor!! It is not the best looking dish and my picture is horrible but it is delicious! Hope that you enjoy it as much as we do!




Marinated Pork Fried Rice



2.5-3 lbs. pork tenderloin tips (you can use any lean cut of pork or chicken if you prefer) cut into bite sized pieces
2-3 cups cooked cold rice
4-5 carrots peeled and diced
2 small onions diced
8 oz. bag of frozen shelled edamame, defrosted
2 eggs, scrambled
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbs. rice vinegar
1/4-1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce, to taste
4 tbs. oil, divided (we use peanut oil for Asian cooking)

for the marinade:
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar

Place cut pork into a container or ziplock bag and add ingredients for the marinade. 
Close or cover tightly and place in the fridge for 24-48 hours making sure to stir it around every 12 hours.
After you allow your meat to get happy in the marinade for 24-48 hours, drain completely.
In a skillet heat up 1 tbs. of the oil on med-high and brown the pork until no longer pink, approx. 10 minutes and drain any juice (do not overcook otherwise it will dry out the meat).
Take a larger skillet or wok and heat of the remaining oil on high. Add carrots and onions and toss until they are starting to caramelize yet still crisp. 
Add edamame and toss with the veggies until heated through.
Add sesame oil, vinegar and rice making sure to break up any clumps of the rice and get it nice and toasty, about 5 minutes.
Push the rice off to the side and add your eggs making sure to scramble well then toss it into the rice.
Add soy sauce 1/4 cup at a time, mix well and taste.
If you need more soy sauce add more. 
Once the flavor is right remove from the heat and serve!! 
Thanks!!!


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Slow Roasted Cuban Style Pork with Cumin Flavored Black Beans (crock pot)

As I have mentioned before I am on a tight budget so any way we can save money on our food bill, I am all for! When my local super market advertised pork tenderloin tips buy one package get 3 free, which they do probably once a month I take advantage of it. When I first noticed these deals I did a little research on them. Turns out that this cut of pork is very lean so that makes it even better! Since I started buying it I have come up with many dishes that my family loves. One of course is my healthy pulled pork (http://yumm-yumm-foodie.blogspot.com/2012/08/healthy-pulled-pork-recently-i-have.html). I know pork isn't exactly healthy, however since it is such a lean cut it is the healthiest pulled pork will be.  Another one is my marinated pork fried rice which I will be posting tomorrow! So I wanted to try something different. I have had a large bottle of mojo marinade in my fridge for a while now that I use to marinade chicken with for grilling and it hit me...Cuban pork...YUMM, and what better to go with a Cuban inspired pork than black beans! So this is what I came up with. I hope that you enjoy it as much as we do! 




Slow Roasted Cuban Style Pork with Cumin Flavored Black Beans (crock pot)

for the pork:
5 lb. pork tenderloin tips (you can use pork tenderloin or boston butt if you prefer)
3-4 tbs. adobo seasoning (I use the goya brand)
3/4 cup mojo marinade
optional hot sauce

Season the pork with the adobo seasoning.
Place the pork in the crock pot and pour the mojo on top.
Cover and cook on low for 8 -10 hours.
Remove the pork and drain the fluid. 
You can serve as is however I slightly shredded the pork and topped with a little hot sauce!


for the black beans:
2 cans black beans (do not drain)
2 small yellow onions or 1 large spanish onion, diced and divided 
1/4 cup butter
1 tbs. garlic powder
2-3 tbs. cumin powder
salt to taste

Melt butter in a skillet on med-high until melted.
Saute half of the onion in the skillet until translucent.
Take the garlic powder and cumin and mix it into the onion.
Pour in the black beans and turn the heat down to med-low.
Warm up slowly for about 10 minutes until nice and bubbly!
Serve with your pork or on top or rice if you like topping with the rest of the onion!

Thanks!!



Saturday, September 28, 2013

Slow Cooked Pork Roast in an Onion Wine Sauce

I love my slow cooker. It does all of the work for you. Just throw it in and walk away, hours later dinner is ready. Roasts are especially our favorites! There are so many different ways of making them. This was one of the most flavorful ones we have made and for less than $10 I was able to feed my entire family well and had tons of leftovers! I hope that you enjoy!! My picture did not do this dish justice at all. I wanted to get a shot of my plate with an awesome pan sauce and mashed potatoes but I was so hungry I forgot to take the picture. 



Slow Cooked Pork Roast in an Onion Wine Sauce

5 lb. boston butt pork roast
1/2 onion cut into rings
4 carrots cut into large chunks
1/2 cup red wine (I used port but any will do)
1 tbs. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tbs. garlic powder
2 heaping tbs. of my homemade beef stew seasoning *recipe below
1 tbs. olive oil

Rub salt, pepper and garlic powder all over the roast.
Heat up the oil in a pan to med high and brown the roast on all sides until golden brown (if you want to make a gravy make sure that you do not wash your pan you will want all the yummies from browning the roast in your gravy).
Create a bed in the bottom of the crock pot with the carrots and onion. 
Pour in the wine. 
Place the roast on top of the veggies and wine.
Top with the beef stew seasoning.
Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
If you want to make gravy all you will need to do is in the pan that you browned the roast, melt a couple of tbs butter.
Once melted pour in 2-3 tbs flour and combine making a roux. 
Allow the roux to get a little golden, about 2 minutes. 
Whisk in juice from the roast until thickened. 
Make sure you taste to see if it is seasoned enough, I usually add a couple tsp. of worcestershire sauce and a little sea salt and pepper. 

*beef stew seasoning mix

2 cups flour 
4 teaspoons oregano 
2 tablespoons basil 
4 1/4 tablespoons salt 
4 1/4 tablespoons black pepper 
4 1/4 tablespoons garlic powder 
4 1/4 tablespoons paprika 
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
4 1/2 tablespoons onion powder 
2 teaspoons rosemary garlic seasoning (or just rosemary)

Thanks!! 

Beef Stew with Red Wine and Herb Dumplings

This is one of my favorite beef stew recipes. Gives a different spin on the original. Hope that you enjoy!!



Beef Stew with Red Wine and Herb Dumplings

for the stew:
2 lb. chuck roast cut into bite sized pieces
2 celery stalks, sliced
4 carrots, diced
1 onion, diced
8 mushrooms, sliced
1 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes with juice
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried mustard
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
3/4 cup red wine (you can use beef broth of you prefer)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup flour

for the dumplings:

1 1/2 cups of Bisquick
1/2 cup half and half (any milk will do)
1/4 tsp. sage
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. pepper


Combine the roast, celery, carrots, onion, tomatoes, mushrooms, thyme, pepper, salt, mustard and wine in the crock pot. 
Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours (high for 4-5).
In a bowl or cup, combine the flour and water, making sure there is no lumps and slowly pour into the crock pot making sure to stir well.
In a bowl combine all of the ingredients for the dumplings.
Drop dumpling mix by the spoonful into the crock pot.
Cover and cook on high for about 30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. 

Enjoy!!!


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Chicken Roll ups with bacon

This recipe is on of my kids all time favorites and it is pretty easy with simple prep. Enjoy!!!




Chicken Roll ups with bacon


4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
8 oz. whipped chive and onion cream cheese
4 slices of bacon
butter
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Using a meat tenderizer, flatten the chicken until it's about 1/2" thick.  Spread the cream cheese over the chicken.  Add a little butter on top of the cream cheese, along with salt and pepper.  Roll the chicken.  Once chicken is rolled, take the bacon and roll it around the chicken.  Secure with a toothpick.  Bake, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes.  Put it under the broiler at the end for about 5 minutes to crisp the bacon. Remove the chicken from the pan and let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving this way when you cut into the meat it is nice and juicy!!

Notes: 
I have used boneless skinless turkey breast as well and gave it just a slight difference in flavor. You can play around with the cream cheese flavors to your liking with regular cream cheese, one of the ones we enjoy is green onion and curry powder! 
You can use the regular block cream cheese if you want to save money just make sure you let it sit out and soften to room temp before you try and spread it on the meat.
If you do not have a meat tenderizer you can use the handle of a butter knife it works just as well.
If you use plastic wrap between the tender and meat while beating will make it easier for clean up!!

Thanks!!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Southern beans and snaps

I love holidays. The family love, the get-togethers and especially the food. I love also creating different kinds of dishes with the leftovers. There are times where I do not want to wait until a holiday to have holiday food or holiday leftovers. Beans and snaps are one of those dishes that gives you the holiday feel but it is pretty versatile. I normally make it when I see that my local grocery store has smoked shank pieces on sale for $.98 per lb.. It is perfect you have the ham bone which puts off a lot of flavor and there is also some meat on it. Win win!!! Plus I add hot sauce which makes it a zesty comfort food!! And if that didn't win you over it is made in the crock pot!!! I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!!



Southern Beans and Snaps

3 lb. smoked shank pieces (any ham bone with meat on it will work)
1 bag (2 lb.) frozen field peas and snaps
6 oz. Louisiana hot sauce (more if you like)
3 1/2-4 cups of water
1/4 onion cut into chunks
2 tbs. sea salt
cooked rice
optional sliced scallions

Place the ham bones in the crock pot.
Pour the field peas and snaps and the onion on top of the ham.
Add hot sauce and salt.
Pour water in making sure not to over fill (I always fill it to just below the peas)
Cook on low for about 8 hours.
Remove the bones and making sure to remove the meat off of the bone.
Serve on a bed of your favorite cooked rice topped with optional scallions and more hot sauce if you like and enjoy!!!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

7-up Biscuits

I have to admit something. I am a southern woman and until last night I have never made biscuits from scratch. My grandmother would have never used a refrigerated tube of biscuits but they are quite convenient especially when you have a lot of kids and not a lot of time. I have come across a recipe for biscuits a number of times on a number of food sites and have been intrigued. Not only do the reviewers say they are yummy but there are only 4 ingredients!! So I took a stab at it last night so to speak and all I have to say is wow! They were fluffy, tender and quite yummy! I will definitely be making these again! Look mamma and grand mamma I made biscuits!!! 




7-up biscuits

4 cups of bisquick (I used a generic)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup 7-up ( I used a generic)
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted

Preheat oven to 425.
Pour melted butter into a 13x9 pan.
Pour bisquick into a largo bowl.
Top with sour cream. 
Using a fork cut the sour cream into the bisquick until there are little crumbles.
Add in the 7-up and mix well. 
The dough will be sticky and if you want to kneed it, roll it and cut it you will need more bisquick.
I added like 1/4 cup more and then decided I was just gonna pour the batter into the pan on top of the butter and not cut them.
Bake for about 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let sit for about 2 minutes if you need to cut them into squares.
Enjoy!!!





S.O.S

My father was in the US Army for 21 years and he learned some interesting food choices from all of his travels. One of his favorites was S.O.S (shit on a shingle) also known as chipped beef on toast. I had it once that way and even though my dad was a fantastic cook, it was horrible! So over the years both of my parents "evolved" the recipe. My dad started using ground beef, seasoning it up with a little beef bullion and making a flour/water gravy. My mom who also was a fantastic cook took that and rolled with it by getting rid of the water and using evaporated milk and adding pepper. At one point she started using half ground beef half sausage. My uncle who not only was a retired US Army vet but also was a mess hall cook showed me that adding a little Worcestershire sauce is yummy. Once I started cooking I decided to play around with the recipe a bit with seasonings and meats, but I always came back to something similar my uncle made. My version is more like a sausage gravy but it is one of my kids favorites. We normally have this for dinner with canned biscuits however last night I paired it with 7-up biscuits that I made ( recipe will be blogged as well). Sooo Yummy!! I hope you enjoy!!





S.O.S

3 rolls of pork sausage (you can use different flavors, maple is yummy)
4-6 cups of half and half
all purpose flour to dust the meat with to make a roux (about a cup)
2 beef bouillon (you can use just sea salt if you would preferred)
1-2 tbs. Worcestershire sauce  
2 tbs. black pepper
salt to taste

Brown the sausage making sure to break it up into pieces until you no longer see pink, drain.
Dust your meat with flour making sure to let it brown onto the meat a little bit.
While the flour is browning a bit add the bouillon, Worcestershire sauce and pepper.
Pour in enough half and half to cover the meat and turn the heat down to med.
Now is a good time to put your biscuits in the oven.
Make sure you stir every 3-5 minutes this way the gravy doesn't clump.
As it starts to thicken if it needs it, add more half and half. 
Simmer for about 20 minutes, remove from heat and allow to sit for about 5 minutes.
Serve on biscuits, toast or eat it on bowls like my kids!!!
Enjoy!!






Sunday, August 4, 2013

40 Clove Chicken with Garlic Basil Pasta

I love 40 clove chicken and I have a great recipe for the crock pot (http://yumm-yumm-foodie.blogspot.com/2013/07/crock-pot-40-clove-chicken.html) but I wanted something different and I could not for the life of me put my finger on it so I decided to do a search. I think I looked at 100 different recipes for 40 clove chicken but it still was not what I was wanting. This inspired me to create!! What I came up with was AMAZING!! It was kinda nutty, crispy, moist and flavorful!! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!!





40 Clove Chicken with Garlic Basil Pasta

for the chicken:
4 lbs. split chicken breast (you can use whatever cut you want just adjust cook time accordingly)
5 bulbs of garlic, peeled leaving the cloves whole, mincing 4 of the cloves 
1 large onion cut into rings
sea salt
2 tsp. rosemary, divided
1 tbs. butter
drizzle olive oil
1/4-1/2 cup of sherry (you can use any white wine)


Preheat oven to 400.
Sprinkle sea salt on the chicken.
Place the whole garlic and onion rings into the bottom of a baking dish and sprinkle with half of the rosemary and salt.
In a pan heat up the oil and the butter on med high.
Place chicken skin side down in the pan until golden brown and crispy turning once.
Place the chicken on top of the garlic and onion.
While the pan is still hot toss in the other half of the butter, the minced garlic and the rest of the rosemary and saute until toasted.
Deglaze the pan with your sherry scraping up all of the browned bits. 
Pour the liquid on top of the chicken.
Bake for 25-30 minutes depending on the size of the chicken
Allow the meat to sit for at least 15 minutes ( this is time to start the pasta) 





for the pasta:
1 box of linguine (you can use whatever type of noodle you want)
2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1-2 tbs. sea salt
1/4 cup of fresh basil chopped
6-8 cloves of cooked garlic from the chicken above, chopped
juice from the bottom of the pan
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 tbs. butter

Cook pasta according to the directions for al dente and drain.
Coat a pan with olive oil and butter heat on med.
Add the cooked garlic and saute for a minute.
Add the basil
Pour in the juice from the chicken.
Add the pasta, salt, and red pepper flakes.
Toss well until heated and juice absorbs into the pasta.
Serve with basil leaves as garnish.

Enjoy!!!



Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Beef Mississippi Pot Roast (Crock Pot)

I found the best pot roast recipe today and I felt the need to share, after putting my own spin on it of course!!! It is so simple and yummy but I was afraid of a few ingredients since a couple of my kids can be picky especially my daughter. She is not a big meat eater to begin with, and she just kept going back for more. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!!!






Mississippi Pot Roast

3-4 pound chuck roast
4 1/2 tsp. of au jus mix (recipe below) or you can use 1 pkt of au jus gravy mix
1 pkt. ranch dressing dry mix
7 peperoncini peppers (found jarred on the pickle aisle)
A splash of the juice from the peperoncini jar
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter

Place roast in the crock pot and sprinkle au jus mix and ranch dressing mix on top.
Top with the butter, peppers and a splash of the juice.



Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Serve and enjoy!!!
If desired you can remove the roast and peppers and whisk in a couple tbs. of corn starch until thickened.

Au jus mix 

12 beef bouillon cubes (or 4 tablespoons granules)
4 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons parsley
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
8 tablespoons all purpose flour. 

Directions:

Blend all ingredients in a blender 30 seconds until completely ground and combined. Store in an airtight container or ziploc bag. To make au jus, measure out 4 1/2 teaspoons into a small saucepan and whisk with 2 cups of water over medium-high heat 15 minutes until bubbly and thickened. To use as seasoning, measure out 4 1/2 teaspoons at a time to equal one package of au jus seasoning mix.


Enjoy!!!



Monday, July 8, 2013

Oven Baked Wedge Fries

There is a constant battle when you have kids for them to choose to eat healthy, especially when you have teenagers! They want greasy and fattening foods. One thing my kids love is french fries. They want them deep fried and covered in salt. I finally came up with an alternative that is oven baked and they truly love them!!! I hope you enjoy!!!





Oven Baked Wedge Fries

4-5 large russet potatoes (you can use any kind of potato, these were on sale)
2-3 Tbs. olive oil (just enough to coat the potatoes)
2-3 tsp. sea salt
1 Tbs. garlic powder
1 Tbs. paprika
2 tsp. black pepper
*optional dash of cayenne pepper for added heat

Preheat oven to 400.
Wash and cut potatoes into small wedges.
Toss wedges with oil and seasonings.
Place on a pan lined up in a single file (just make sure they are not on top of each other so they can crisp)
Bake on one side for 15 minutes then flip them.
Bake for another 15 minutes.
Serve and enjoy just like my daughter!



Crock Pot 40 Clove Chicken

I love my crock pot!! Slow cooking something yummy while you are living your life is awesome!!! Especially if you are a busy mom! As I have mentioned on past posts I am on a tight budget so chicken is a staple in my house. It is inexpensive and there is so many different ways to prepare it. This has become one of my favorites to have. The garlic kinda gives the chicken a nutty flavor that is awesome!!! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!!!







Crock Pot 40 Clove Chicken

4-5 lbs chicken (I used leg quarters that I had separated but you can use any cut as long as it is on the bone)
1 large onion cut into rings
40 cloves garlic peeled, whole and in tact (4 bulbs)
1 Tbs. sea salt
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. paprika
2 tsp. black pepper
*optional for a little heat 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Place onion rings in the bottom of the slow cooker making a little bed for the chicken.
In a large bowl toss the chicken with the oil, salt, paprika, pepper, garlic cloves and the cayenne if you opted to add it.
Pour into the crock pot on top of the onion. 





Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours (high 4-5 hrs.)depending on how quickly your crock pot cooks.
The slower this cooks the more the chicken sucks up the garlic flavor right into the meat when it comes to bone in chicken.
Serve with your favorite sides and enjoy!!!!
XOXO

Turkey Bolognese

I love pasta dishes. They are super easy to make and you can let your imagination run wild. I was watching a cooking show and was inspired by a dish that I saw being made. I knew that I wanted to make it but it needed some changes for mine and my families tastes. Here is what I came up with. I hope you like it!!! FYI this is a lot of sauce. I take half and put it in the freezer for another meal. You can half the sauce if you do not want to make enough for another night however if you can I would suggest it. Makes another night super easy!






Turkey Bolognese

4 Tbs. Olive oil, divided
2 lbs. ground turkey breast
6-8 cloves of garlic, minced 
2 Tbs. dried oregano 
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
2 cups red wine (I used a yummy Merlot)
2 (28 oz.) cans of crushed tomatoes (I used organic fire roasted)
1 (6 oz.) can of tomato paste (I used organic)
1 (8 oz.) can of tomato sauce (I used organic)
1 (1 lb.) box of dried pasta (I used small shells so the sauce could get into the pasta)
1 tsp. dried nutmeg
1/2-1 cup of fresh basil chopped
1 cup of heavy cream
1 cup parmesan cheese (more for serving)
salt and pepper to taste

Heat half of the olive oil in a skillet pan at med-high heat and add the turkey crumbling the meat until browned and no longer pink.
Drain any water from the turkey breast.
Stir in the garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes cooking for at least a minute.
Pour in the wine scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and tomato sauce along with some salt and pepper, stirring until combined.
Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
While the sauce is simmering bring a large pot of water to a boil along with the remaining olive oil and some salt.
Add pasta and cook according to the box directions.
While the pasta cooks add the nutmeg, basil, and heavy cream to the tomato sauce and simmer for another 15 minutes until thickened.
Take half of your sauce and put it in a freezer safe container and store in your freezer for another meal (just add to warm pasta on that day).
Drain pasta, add it to the remaining sauce along with the pamesan cheese, toss well.
Serve in a large pasta bowl for a nice presentation for your table along with parmesan cheese on the side for each individual bowl.
Add basil leaves for a garnish to make it look beautiful for your table. 



Enjoy!!!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Apricot Glazed Chicken Bake

As I have said in the past I am on a tight budget so we eat a lot of chicken. I have cooked it in so many different ways it has become a chore to find other ways to make it. Apricot chicken is one way my kids really enjoy and it is super simple...chicken, apricot preserves and garlic, bake until done. This way is yummy I just wanted to do something a little different. I came across a recipe and the glaze peaked my interest but it needed some tweaking. I wanted more sweet less tangy so I played around with it, added a few things, took away a few things and this is what I came up with. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!!





Apricot Glazed Chicken Bake


5-6 chicken thighs (you can use any cut of the chicken, will just have a different cook time)
3/4 cup apricot preserves
2 Tbs. soy sauce
3 Tbs. brown sugar
1 Tbs. spicy brown mustard
dash of garlic powder
salt to taste
1 tbs. olive oil

Preheat oven to 400.
In a skillet, heat oil to med-high.
Sprinkle the salt on the raw chicken.
Once the oil is hot place chicken skin side down in the oil for about 5 minutes to get a good seer on the skin (golden brown).
Place chicken on a foiled baking sheet skin side up(makes for easy clean up), if you have racks use them.
In a medium bowl combine apricot preserves, soy sauce, brown sugar, mustard and garlic powder and whisk until sugar is dissolved.
Drizzle the 3/4 of the glaze on top of the chicken.
Place in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes, until the juices from the chicken run clear.
Drizzle the remaining glaze on top of the chicken and let sit for about 10 minutes. 
Serve and enjoy!!
We served it with parmesan roasted cauliflower (http://yumm-yumm-foodie.blogspot.com/2013/05/parmesan-roasted-cauliflower.html)